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Sundance 2013 Wishlist: 25 Films We Hope Will Head To Park City

By Indiewire | Indiewire November 21, 2012 at 12:31PM

Thanksgiving is an anxious holiday for indie filmmakers as the Sundance Film Festival begins making its round of calls with (hopefully) good news. The first round of programming announcements are expected following the four-day holiday weekend, with over 100 features expected over various sections of the January 2013 festival. Ahead of those announcements, Indiewire is offering 25 films as a Sundance wish list. Basically, it's a wholly unscientific collection of films that might reasonably make the cut and/or we hope will make it to Park City. Much more so than fellow festival powerhouses Cannes or Toronto, Sundance is a hard lineup to predict. Tiny films from up-and-coming directors often end up being the most talked about films at the festival (who'd ever heard of Benh Zeitlin or Quvenzhané Wallis this time last year?). Of course, some of the lineup will be comprised of more high-profile possibilities -- and it's all but certain that some of the festival's breakouts are not going to be on our list. So with those caveats in mind, here are 25 titles to consider (in alphabetical order). And if you have a title to add, tell us in the comments.

Devil’s Knot," directed by Atom Egoyan
The infamous West Memphis Three murder case has played out in documentary form at Sundance since 1996, when Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofky’s first “Paradise Lost” played the festival. Then Amy Berg’s up-to-the-minute “West of Memphis” doc played Park City last year. So having Atom Egoyan’s fictional treatment in the line-up seems a sure thing. If it does show up, it will involve a mix of unusually big star power, with Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in central roles, and indie-film stalwarts, such as Elias Koteas, Amy Ryan and Alessandro Nivola in supporting parts. Though his movies often premiere at Cannes, Egoyan is a regular at the Sundance labs, and “Devil’s Knot” still seeks distribution, so Sundance would be a smart play. [Jay A. Fernandez]

"The Double," directed by Richard Ayoade
Comedian-actor-director Richard Ayoade's directorial debut "Submarine" was a Sundance breakthrough simply because it managed to take the familiar coming-of-age mold and deliver a nostalgia-laden combination of touching, somber and funny moods. His sophomore feature -- not to be confused with the Richard Gere spy movie from 2011 -- revolves around a man "driven insane by the appearance of his doppleganger," according to an official synopsis. The man in question is played by Jesse Eisenberg, reigning king of young American neuroses, and thus a great fit for the material and Ayoade's penchant for deadpan comedy. Co-written by Harmony Korine's brother Avi, the movie also stars Mia Wasikowska and Wallace Shawn, a first-rate cast of versatile actors whose involvement hint at a project with potential to transcend the conventional boundaries of the comedy genre -- just like, come to think of it, "Submarine." Our fingers are crossed for a delightfully odd character study. [Eric Kohn]

"Drinking Buddies," directed by Joe Swanberg
When the news came out that prolific microbudget American filmmaker Joe Swanberg was making a relationship comedy with movie stars, I was among the initial skeptics. But it sounds like "Drinking Buddies," which stars Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston, has come together in the tradition of Swanberg's other movies: shot and edited on a quick time frame, heavily improvised and attuned to the intimate experiences of young adulthood. Set around the platonic friendship of two Chicago residents working a brewery, the movie sounds like a traditional Swanbergian take on relationship politics. As the filmmaker improves his technique each time out, the movies are less impressive for their honesty and more for their skill, which makes this project -- bound to receive more attention than anything he's done before -- worth anticipating whether or not you've been a fan of Swanberg's earlier films. There's no question that his process, like the director, continues to mature. [Eric Kohn]

"GBF," directed by Darren Stein
Darren Stein's breakout film "Jawbreaker" debuted at the 1999 Sundance, and while he's got a stellar cast of comedic actors in line for his new film "G.B.F." (that stands for gay boyfriend).  Megan Mullally, Horatio Sanz and Natasha Lyonne join a cast of up-and-coming young actors who have had notable roles in some of the best youth-focused television and film.  The story, as told in our Will You See This Movie? column, is a too-good-to-be-true story of Stein meeting first time writer George Northy at the Outfest Screenwriting Lab and knowing that he needed to make this film.  The film just wrapped shooting, but it may just be ready for this year's Sundance. [Bryce J. Renninger]

"Friended To Death," directed by Sarah Smick
Sarah Smick's "Friended to Death" sounds like just the kind of low-frills comedy that Sundance wants for its NEXT (or U.S. Dramatic) Competition.  The dark comedy about one man in a midlife rut who fakes his own death using a social media platform.  The film stars rising comedic actors Ryan Hansen ("Party Down") and Zach McGowan (the naked guy on "Shameless") and is directed by recently minted Columbia grad Smick.  Read more about Smick's feelings on being a woman writing a bromance in our feature of the film's production. [Bryce J. Renninger]

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